Bester wins second stage

2004-09-01 20:04

Oudtshoorn - Morne Bester grabbed an impressive stage win in the second stage of the Tour de Eden on Tuesday.

His team-mate, Jaco Odendaal, got second in the stage from Knysna to Oudsthoorn and made up enough time to take the overall lead. He leads the tour by five seconds from Bester while Nicholas White - fourth in the stage - lurks in third at nine seconds.

And with Anke Erlank winning the women's race the Microsoft team is in a commanding position in the five-day race.

Bester won the stage with a powerful surge 2km from the finish at the Cango Caves.

"Everything worked well for us. My team-mate Daryl (Impey) did a lot of work attacking and I did the same five times before I finally got away.

"Daryl really set it up for me. He broke up the bunch with a strong surge at the bottom of the final climb - and we won the stage," said Bester.

In the early stages of the race two riders from Super C, Peter-Lee Jefferies and Attie de Lange, dislodged themselves from the peloton before the first King of the Mountains outside the Wilderness.

This did not in any way affect the points for the top guys chasing for the polka dot jersey.

Chased every rider

It was after the exit from George that the chase began with Daryl Impey breaking away and the bunch chasing. Bester also chased every rider who broke away determined to keep the yellow jersey in the team.

In the chase for the King of the Mountains jersey is Eckard Bergh (Minolta), 20 points ahead of Waylon Woolcock (HSBC-Tuks) who is three points behind on 17.

Erlank won the women's stage giving her a lead of 12 seconds and a good chance of taking the title for the tour. Defending champion Anriette Schoeman was a spectator on Tuesday as she has just returned from Athens.

"I worked for the first 50km and then sat back for a while and in the last 500m I pushed to win the stage," said Erlank.

Last year there were a number of problems facing the race organisers. One was the control of traffic and Frieda Henning was in hot water with the cyclists wanting to abandon the race.

This year it is a completely different story. "We have worked hard to keep this race and as I drove an hour in front of the race every traffic officer was in place and ready for the day's event. I was very happy to see everything went well," said Henning.

There is still opportunity for White, who was pre race favourite, to make his move. Wednesday's stage is the longest one of the tour, 180km with a category two climb near the finish of 4km. It starts in Oudtshoorn and finishes in Riversdale.